Kagan Profile a Rorschach for Political Commentators

Take your pick: she's ambitious, opera-loving, warm, careerist, not fond of pets

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The Thursday Washington Post carries an extensive profile of Elena Kagan, Supreme Court nominee. Ann Gerhart and Philip Rucker cover everything from her poker parties to her clerkships, her gifts to friends to her banter with Justice Scalia. As per usual, a number of political bloggers are linking to the piece, picking out quotes, highlighting certain sections over others--revealing in some cases as much about the bloggers' own positions as about Kagan herself. Have a look at what each person is picking out:

  • 'Kagan's Ambition' is how Politico's Ben Smith titles his post. He also points out, though, that the profile "casts her as talented, warm, driven, and very, very ambitious, and offers a glimpse at a rare failure." He excerpts the section about her difficulties getting past the shortlists for dean of the University of Texas Law School and president of Harvard University.
  • 'Devoted to Law, Favoring Opera and Hamburgers' For the American Bar Association's magazine, the ABA Journal, Debra Cassens Weiss notes the sheer level of detail in the piece (and comments that Obama's last nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, faced a similar level of scrutiny, such as over her "suffering romantic relationships"). Her summary:
Kagan doesn't care for pets. She saw Iron Man II and The Ghost Writer. After oral arguments, she lunched with her deputy in the solicitor general's office at Central Michel Richard, where she always ordered a hamburger and a side salad. She plays a mean poker game. She throws dinner parties. She loves opera and the theater. She doesn't drive much, and has been known to forget to turn off the car after parking it.
  • Democrat Careerist with a Narrow World That's conservative Glenn Reynolds's take, quoting the section in which the Post depicts Kagan's close circle of lawyer and Democrat friends as a bit confined.
  • 'A Parody of Washington Careerist Insularity,' declares The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, with perhaps the sharpest take on the profile. "The idea that Kagan represents real experience of the real world is, quite simply, ludicrous. She is the polar opposite of Clarence Thomas--as bright as he is dim, as protected by liberal elites as he is brutally exposed by them."
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